Loki 2×06 “Glorious Purpose” is a high point of storytelling for the MCU in general, and for Loki as a character in particular. But it’s not just that, it’s the culmination of a journey that has seen Loki as a character, and Tom Hiddleston as an actor, grow from antagonist to the character literally holding the multiverse in his hands. It’s not an exaggeration to say there is not a more important character in the House that Tony Stark built than Loki, and no actor deserves this place of honor more than Hiddleston.
The episode is not in any way, shape or form acting rising above bad writing, though. Loki 2×06 “Glorious Purpose” delivers on all the promises set up by a superbly written show, that has always known where it was going. If Loki feels like he has finally fulfilled his glorious purpose, and like that glorious purpose is all about him, it’s because the show has always truly understood Loki and set up a story that gave him a superb supporting cast, but never lost its True North. And though this truly feels like the end of Loki the show, it doesn’t really feel like the end of Loki the character.
It never really does, does it?
More Burden than Glory
I am usually the first person to complain about sacrifice stories because the truth is they are often unnecessary and rarely even make sense. Not just that, Marvel has overplayed this card to the point where it’s all we ever expect. Of course, a sacrifice play is coming. Except, with Loki, that was never the expectation. Loki is not the sacrifice guy. He’s never cared enough for the greater good, or for anyone save perhaps his brother, to even consider that.
Except here he is, and in Loki 2×06 “Glorious Purpose,” we see our favorite God of Mischief consider all possibilities. He tries for centuries – literal centuries. He even, for a moment, thinks about killing Sylvie. He goes to the two people other than Thor he trusts the most in the world – Mobius and Sylvie, for advice. And it’s not because he’s unwilling to shoulder the burden, Loki knows all about burdens and scar tissues. No, instead it’s because if Loki has learned something in the time he’s had with his friends (his family) it’s that the only thing more powerful than death is hope.
And he’s got that. Hope is hard. But Loki has it. And not just hope that things can be better, but hope that he, Loki of Asgard, can make things better. That he can be the difference. And that he can be something, even without his friends. That’s why he does what he does. Well, that and…
There’s no ambiguity to Loki’s declaration, but there’s also no clarity. “For you,” he says, but he’s looking at both Mobius and Sylvie. Both are standing there. He doesn’t mean just one of them, and he doesn’t really have to. This story has never been about how Loki can only love one person in one way. He can love both Mobius and Sylvie and need them and hope that, at some point in the future, he can meet up with them again.
And he can even do that while still loving his brother and hoping the sun will shine on both of them again. Love isn’t a finite well. You don’t run out of it. Loki finally understands that. That’s why “For you,” turns into “For all of us.”
For B-15. For Casey. For O.B. For Victor Timely, who made his own choices and never became the evil He Who Remains was. And for the many people we’ve met in the MCU and even those we have yet to meet. For all mankind.
He’s Giving Us a Chance
To live. To go on. And what can Mobius and Sylvie, of all people, do to honor Loki except just that? Go on.
It’s the hardest thing ever. To move on from loss. You can see it in Mobius’s face, in his entire demeanor. You can even see it in Sylvie’s, even if she carries her grief way differently than Mobius does. They think Loki is lost forever, and though it’s not the same as death, they are grieving him. But they are doing their best to honor him by living. Because that’s what Loki sacrificed himself for. So they could live.
Who would have thought we’d be here with Loki, of all people? That’s why it works in a way it didn’t with Tony Stark. Was it a surprise that Tony, the dude who tried the sacrifice play in the first Avengers movie ended up successfully pulling it off in Avengers: Endgame? No. At that point, storytelling-wise, the character had nothing to prove – to the audience or to the other characters.
Loki, on the other hand, was still proving something, mainly to himself. And now that he has, well, the good news is …this isn’t really the end of his story, is it? You can’t keep the God of Mischief — or the God of Stories — down.
Loki Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on Disney+.